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« Green Protests to Add to Merkel’s Problems | Main | Siddharth Rajeev: Undiscovered Energy Gems Sparkle »

Japan Issues Emergency at Nuclear Plant

Japanese Nuclear Power Plant.JPG

TOKYO—The Japanese government late Friday issued an official emergency at one of the country's nuclear power plants and ordered nearly 2,000 people evacuated after a massive earthquake automatically shut down its reactors and caused problems with its cooling system.

Early Saturday, the company operating the reactor said there was rising pressure in a key part of the plant. Japanese media reports have said a further big rise in pressure may break the vessel.

The company said they have not given out such information, and said there were no reports of radiation leakage.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. also said there are currently no reports of radiation leakage.

"There are no reports of leakage from any nuclear power plants at the moment and no signs of any leakage," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Friday. As a result of the state of emergency, the government will set up a special emergency task force to deal with the situation.

As a precaution, the government ordered nearly 2,000 people living within three kilometers, or nearly two miles, of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to evacuate Friday night.

At Tokyo Electric Power's Fukushima Daiichi plant, three reactors shut down automatically as designed after a magnitude 8.9 earthquake struck off the northeast of Japan on Friday afternoon. The quake also caused diesel-powered generators used to cool the reactors to stop operating, leaving the utility company with a shortage of coolant to bring the reactors to a safe temperature.

Meanwhile, the three reactors at Tohoku Electric Power Co.'s Onagawa plant in Miyagi, near the epicenter of the quake, also shut down automatically. A few hours later, the company said that it observed smoke coming from the building housing the No. 1 reactor at the plant. The company said it is still checking the safety of the reactor, but said there has been no reported leakage of radioactive substances.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said it is ready to provide assistance to Japan if requested following the massive earthquake, Kyodo News cited the agency's chief as saying.
"The IAEA continues to stand ready to provide technical assistance of any kind, should Japan request this," IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in a statement.

"The Japanese authorities say there has so far been no release of radiation from any of the nuclear power plants affected by today's earthquake and aftershocks," the IAEA head said.

The agency is maintaining contact with Japanese authorities and monitoring the situation "round the clock," he added.

French nuclear engineering group Areva said it hasn't been informed of any impact on its installations in the country. The company operates a joint venture with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Mitsubishi Corp. specialized in nuclear fuel called MNF, as well as a zirconium making plant, Cezus, which is a fully owned unit of Areva.


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Reader Comments (8)

What do you folks think about the affect of this on the uranium stocks?

March 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBee Thousand

I guess this bad news in Japan is going to negatively impact our uranium mining stocks. Bad news in this industry always seems to scare people into panic selling their stocks.

March 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdaveydog

Yes , And we shall have to wait and see if this impacts nuclear development as the public will run scared le of course by the "Greens ".
Lesson to learn 1 dont build nuclear plants on the sea shore 2 dont build nuclear plants in high risk earthquake zones

March 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteruranium bug

Todays trading in Australia will give us a clue as to how investors are feeling, we will watch stocks such as Extract Resources, etc, to see which way it is going to go.

March 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterUranium Stocks

I have often silently worried about attacks on nuclear plants all over the world. Not so much from floods which I didn't think about, but moreso from some enemy missle attacks. The world is really caught between the proverbial rock and the dangerous hard place.

March 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Ell

If you don't build plants by the sea, you have to site them on a river or build your own gigantic reservoir, because they need a huge and reliable source of cooling water. And seaside sites tend to be earthquake the Pacific at least. Fact of life.

March 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfallingman

....and its sea water that they are pumping in now to cool the plant

March 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterUranium Stocks

It is not beyond the means of man to pump water inland to more secure sites

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteruranium bug

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